Posts from November 2008

Good and Bad

Saturday 29th November 2008

I bought a new hard disk a couple of months ago. It seems to have died on me. The thought of re-ripping all my CDs, and losing lots of other things that theres no way for me to get back, is not a good one. Sob.

In other news, I drove past this shop earlier and it made me laugh…

Sell Fridges

Posted In: Random | 1 Comment


Thursday 27th November 2008

First things first, I decided to have a fiddle around with the way this thing works, hence the new look. The old design I was using was a bit of a mess behind the scenes, so this version should hopefully help me use WordPress a bit better… I wanted to work out how to use CSS properly as well. Turns out it’s remarkably easy and very powerful, which is handy. Also, I just felt like a change….

Anyway, other things. I’ve mentioned before that I’m on a year out this year, so I could go do a placement in an engineering company. Which is pretty cool. I much prefer the working lifestyle to the student one, for some reason. I like knowing that work stops at a certain time, and that after that my time is my own. And the student lifestyle makes it very, very easy to be lazy (my bad habit is to turn nocturnal, especially in the winter…). Also, I’m not sure what it is, but I tend to find the whole student bubble thing pretty tedious; it’s nice to be able to get out into the real world for a bit. I’m fairly dreading having to go back to Uni next year, I honestly don’t know how I’ll cope.

I’ve been in a civil engineering office, doing… well, lots of stuff. It’s quite an eye-opener how little civil engineering my degree in, uhm, civil engineering, has contained thus far. Mostly we’ve covered a lot of structural stuff, rather than civils. Which I guess makes sense, because the structural stuff probably lends itself more to being taught at uni. I think I’ve probably learned as much – if not more – from my placement than from my degree…

However. You will probably have noticed all the talk recently about recession. Well, turns out that has a pretty large effect on the construction industry; people can’t build stuff when they haven’t got any money. So I was made redundant last week. To be honest, when I decided to get a year’s experience of the industry, that wasn’t the experience I had in mind. So, the bad news is that I’m out of a job after Christmas; the good news is that I’ve only had about 3 weeks off in total since July (because I worked for the Bank over summer), and now I’m gonna get longer off…

I think I should possibly be more stressed about the whole thing. I’m not sure if I’ll get another job in engineering for the rest of the year (although the odds are better than I thought they’d be), and I’m not sure what the hell I’d do if I didn’t get one. In a lot of ways, though, it’s a good opportunity for me. I’ve had 3 months doing one type of thing in the engineering industry, now I wanna go do something different; I’d really like to go and work on-site, see what that’s like. If I went down that road long-term there’s some pretty good opportunities for travelling, which I think is not to be ignored.

Hmm, anyway. This is a crap post. There’s a bunch of other stuff I wanna write about, but I’ll leave that for another time.

Posted In: EngineeringSiteSleepStuff Tagged: | 7 Comments

The Cue To Queue

Monday 17th November 2008

So I was in a shop earlier. Tesco, as it happens. With one of my brothers. This particular branch of Tesco is one of the small ones, and is laid out such that the queue for the checkout can form in a couple of ways depending on whatever psychological forces you care to mention. I cant be bothered to explain what I mean, so here’s a diagram of the layout:


I should make it clear that theres no sign or anything saying “queue this way”, it’s basically down to where people choose to queue.

So anyway, today the queue formed in the way I’ve labeled as queue A in the layout above. When we got to the end of the shelves, my brother stepped aside to look at something at the end of the shelf, while I stood in the same place. The position my brother was in was the same as that of someone who in queue B, so when he took a step closer to the checkouts when the person in front moved, the two girls stood behind us chose to pass comment.

Not to us, of course. One said to the other “god, don’t you hate it when people queue in the wrong place and then cut in”. Now, usually I’d let it go, but this time I didn’t. I turned round and explained that yes the queue went that way (I hadn’t labeled them queues A and B at this stage, I’m not that sad) but that actually he was in front of them. At which point one said to the other – not to me – “don’t you hate it when people cut the queue and then have attitude?”. My brother then turned round and told them to go ahead of him. Their response was “oh, well I don’t really want to now”. Again, said between themselves, not to us. They did puish in front of us in the end.

Theres not much I’m gonna say about that. It just seemed so British. That sense of “well yes I have a problem, but rather than tell you about it I’ll just pass comment about it, loud enough so you’re bound to hear. Hah, that’ll get ya!”

That I’m writing about a queue also seems pretty British. But there you go.

Btw, that I drew that diagram is the second indication today that I probably need to get out more. On Top Gear tonight, there was a car being brought to the presenters on a low-loader. It was hidden under a cover so they couldn’t see what it was. Just before it was unveiled, I mentioned to my housemates that it looked a lot like a Renault Avantime – a car that’s pretty rare, especially in Britain. And thats what it was…

Tangent: Architects. How are they so rubbish? CAD drawings often have lots of layers; say for buildings, or white lines, or furniture, or drainage, or whatever. Engineers’ drawings are all generally right. Everything is in the right layer, and it makes sense. Whenever you get something from architects though, it’s a complete mess. You might have trees on the same layer as the half of the foul drainage, the rest of which is on the “levels” layer. Which also contains the title block, for some inexplicable reason. Someone told me the other day that they once got an architects’ drawing that had a completely different project they’d worked on, to one side of the actual project. The architect had pasted the old drawing into the new one, because they wanted to copy something from it. Probably the taps, or something else that real people delete so they can do proper work with it… Oh, also, they never purge them (i.e. get rid of layers, blocks etc that arent being used). I purged a 5mb drawing from an architect the other day, it got it down to about 3… Perhaps we expect too much. Another guy has told me about how he once had to explain to an Architect why exactly it is that water runs downhill…

None/little of that last paragraph will make sense to anyone who isn’t a Civil/Structural Engineer. Sorry.

This is a fairly non-post. But I couldn’t sleep and wanted to write something, so in that sense it’s served a purpose. Goodnight!

Posted In: EngineeringRandomRant | 4 Comments